Occasionally something comes along that makes you question many things you take for granted about music. With its rough-hewn constructions, warts and all approach to songwriting, juvenile humour and moments of weird unexpected genius, Trentacles does just that. It makes you wonder why more music doesn’t want to be fun and funny, why more music doesn’t want to make you feel weird and uncomfortable, and why more artists don’t just let it all hang out – to hell with the consequences.
Not much is known about Trentacles. He apparently just started emailing the Bad Laser label tunes early in the pandemic and as a joke they started releasing these strange earworms. Thus far there’s been a weird mostly acapella Christmas mix tape, and another EP called Do The Jazz and Shoosh which contains some truly uncomfortably dark and hilarious moments like ‘Donkey’ which has more than a bit of an anal obsession and a very concerning song about ice cream that seems to fall apart midway.
This funk EP is in name only, its opener ‘Slutty Boy’ is about a Slutty Boy lost in a park trying to get out. How did he get there? Why can’t he get out? What is a slutty boy? Lots of questions and not too many answers. The second song is ‘Jiggy’ in which Trentacles repeatedly tells us he wants to get jiggy over an annoying electronic groove that becomes more and more chaotic. The final piece is a song about how someone doesn’t want something up their ass, featuring haunting melotron and a creepy rap listing all the things that could go up there. There’s also a very odd instrumental.
Without fail all the tracks are raw. They feel spat out quickly, half thought ideas, raw and skeletal, the detritus from the subconscious escaping partially formed and uncensored kicking and screaming into the daylight. Perhaps other artists water this kind of thing down, adding wit to the lyrics and polishing the rough edges. Trentacles doesn’t, and its what makes this so interesting. He seems determined to keep things lowest common denominator, to bludgeon with teenage humour and sledgehammer ideas. Basically Trentacles is all the things you shouldn’t do with music. The curious thing though is our reaction to this. It feels new but deeply uncomfortable and after the giggles subside its impossible not to feel a growing sense unease. It seems like it’s a joke, but it difficult to tell who its on.